World Cup players getting ill with "flu-like symptoms"

The World Cup final, featuring Argentina versus France, is happening on Sunday Dec 18. There's bad news for France, however—several of its players, including Kingsley Coman, Dayot Upamecano, and Adrien Rabiot, are sick with "flu-like symptoms," and it's unknown whether they will be able to play. WION News reports:

Defending champions France suffer a huge blow ahead of the FIFA World Cup 2022 final against Argentina as their winger Kingsley Coman is down with a camel virus and is unlikely to feature on Sunday. Coman is the third French player after Dayot Upamecano and Adrien Rabiot to suffer from this virus.

What's going on? UPI News reports that the players might be suffering from "camel flu," or MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome). We don't know yet, though:

The disease, which is caused by Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus, was first identified in Saudi Arabia in 2012, and has caused nearly 1,000 human deaths worldwide since. The disease is what's known as a "zoonotic virus," because it can be transmitted from animals to humans.

But if this IS camel flu/MERS, this could be very bad news indeed. Diario AS provides more information:

In Qatar there is concern about a virus dubbed Camel flu that is going around for the past couple of weeks. Many fans attending the World Cup, including those who have now returned home, have also come down with a nagging cold that they have struggled to shake off.

Camel flu is the common name for Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) – a viral respiratory disease caused by Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS‐CoV), a zoonotic virus which can be transmitted between animals and people with camels being the main link between the two. It was first identified in Saudi Arabia in 2012 and since then there have been 2,600 laboratory confirmed cases in humans, and at almost 1,000 deaths worldwide although 80% of cases of MERS‐CoV affecting humans have been confined to Saudi Arabia.

Human-to-human transmission of MERS‐CoV is possible and studies have indicated that there is also a risk of airborne transmission. Approximately 30-35% of the cases reported to the World Health Organisation during the past decade have died and there is currently no vaccine or specific treatment available to treat infected patients. Qatar is one of 27 countries that have reported cases to the WHO.